Sunday, May 16, 2004

President's Dinner and Republican "Inner Circle Club" Invites are out

The Republican have sent out the invitations to this year's "President's Dinner" in Washington DC in late July.

Tickets to black-tie fundraising dinner cost $2,500 each, or $25,000 to reserve your table of 10.

Although the dinner is held in the President's honor, there is no guarantee the President will attend even briefly. Some senior Republican members of Congress, it seems, will be attending, however briefly.

A fancy dinner and ball dance is promised, however, as are networking opportunities with fellow Republican contributors. No doubt fancy entertainment would be provided to distract paying attendees from the fact that most of the politicians mentioned on the invite had better things to do.

Last year's dinner invites were sent out by the former President Bush, who apologized at the end of the invitation that he also would not be able to attend "this import dinner" as he and wife Barbara Bush would be flying "overseas" on business. Apparently $2,500 was enough to be (briefly?) in the same room with Republican Senators, but not enough for former or current Presidents Bush to meet you. It was not clear from the letter how much such access would cost.

If you ignored the RSVP date last year, you would eventually receive a second invite reducing the price to $2,000, and throwing in membership in the Republican Congressional "Inner Circle Club."

This year, the two seem to have been combined --- $2,500 buys you both dinner and an Inner Circle Club membership. Inner circle "nominees" are given much more time to respond --- the same July RSVP deadline as for the dinner.

Last year, the "Inner Circle Club" membership promised two additional DC dinners, plus the email address of a congressional staffer dedicated to providing you with a personal response as to why President Bush was ignoring all of your policy suggestions. Inner Circle Club members would also be given an exclusive opportunity to do free consulting for the Republicans.

This year, the "Inner Circle Club" activities are being coordinated with the Republican Convention in NYC. Those who fork up the $2,500 will be given "cabinet level" briefings by congressional and Administrative staffers on an aircraft carrier near NYC during the week of the convention.

War profiteers take note: this might be a good opportunity for those with business before the White House or Congress to hawk their latest weapons systems and network with their fellow Republicans. No doubt the Republicans will scratch your back if you scratch theirs, provided they win in November (although it's not clear $2,500 will get much done for you).

For those of you that weren't "nominated" to receive the direct-mail advertisement or can't afford $2,500 for a dinner, take heart:

No mention is made of a refund of "club dues" should President Bush lose the election.

Given the Administration's recent declaration of war on the US Press Corps, this is looking increasingly likely.